Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Aragchi denied on Friday that Iran had lost a drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the United States said that a US Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone.
“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!,” Araqchi said on Twitter, referring to a US warship in the strategic waterway.
US president Donald Trump said on Thursday the drone had flown to within 914 metres (1,000 yards) of the USS Boxer and had ignored "multiple calls to stand down" in the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Mr Trump said.
“The drone was immediately destroyed,” Mr Trump said. He gave no more details.
The Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken “defensive action” against a drone, but did not mention if the aircraft was Iranian.
Tensions in the Gulf region are high, amid fears that the US and Iran could stumble into war.
The US has blamed Iran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. Tehran rejects the allegations.
Earlier on Thursday, the US demanded Iran immediately release a vessel it seized in the Gulf, and a US military commander in the region said the US would work “aggressively” to ensure free passage of vessels through the vital waterway. – Reuters